Keith Richards speaking at APM Conference. Keith Richards, KRC, spoke about the 8 dangers associated with Agile adoption at the APM Conference last month. These are the dangers of Agile.
It comes from the bottom up
Keith stated that “we don’t want the techies taking control of the organisation.” Keith stated that “this bottom up stuff is dangerous.” He also said that Agile is not something that should be developed organically from IT. You must make sure that your Agile deployment is conscious.
It seems simple
He said, “It if were simple, we wouldn’t have to be trained up PRINCE2(r)”. I believe that everything is simple if you understand how it works. Agile, however, looks complicated from the outside. Keith advised caution when implementing Agile.
It’s mixing oil and water
Agile’s governance approach is not compatible with many corporate governance structures. Agile is not anti-management. However, it is agile. Some companies are not agile, so think about how these two approaches can be combined.
Timeboxing is the first step.
Timeboxing is an Agile method of getting things done within a set time. This ensures that projects deliver on-time by ensuring that chunks of work are bundled up and delivered at the conclusion of a timebox. Although I thought timeboxing was a good place for a start, Keith pointed out that this could be dangerous. He suggested that Agile be placed in a larger context. This does not mean that you should start with timeboxing. Instead, you should begin with an education campaign to really understand what you are trying to accomplish.
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Keith asked, “Who’s going pull it off?” When there are many people involved or multiple strands to a project, you can’t trust teams to manage themselves. A single point of contact is essential for all people.
It spreads virally
Keith warned that Agile should not be spread virally. This might work for certain things, such as adopting a corporate Wiki, but it won’t work for Agile. You will end up with variants of Agile that don’t work, and no consistent understanding about what Agile is all around.
It’s not clear to the people upstairs
This is a real danger. However, I believe it is a problem for all project management approaches. Not just agile ones. It will be difficult to make any kind of change in process or methodology if you don’t have the support and understanding of senior stakeholders. This can be countered by expanding your education campaign to include those stakeholders as well as the people who will be doing the doing.
The tools are the driving force behind the transition
This is a danger in Agile implementations, but I believe it is a danger in any change of methodology. Don’t let tools dictate your transition to a new way. Your new processes should be supported by the tools, not vice versa. Agile is not about buying software that supports development and hoping it will fix everything. Software doesn’t create new processes; you do.
What other risks have you encountered when deploying Agile on your projects. What about deploying a new project approach?
You can read more about Keith’s talk at the conference by clicking here.